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Infinera CEO David Heard talks chips (and sciences)Infinera CEO David Heard talks chips (and sciences)

Infinera CEO David Heard said that the US is doing the right thing by committing billions of dollars to semiconductor research and manufacturing. Since chips are such a big part of the price of the end product and the speed of product innovation, Heard said the recently passed CHIPS and Sciences Act could be a watershed moment in optical networking.

Phil Harvey

August 17, 2022

Infinera CEO David Heard talks chips (and sciences)

Infinera CEO David Heard is optimistic about what the CHIPS and Sciences Act can do for optical networking vendors, especially those that are endeavoring to be less dependent on foreign suppliers.

On Tuesday, August 9, President Joe Biden signed the bill that will provide $52.7 billion in subsidies for US semiconductor production and research, an attempt to make the US more competitive with China.

"The CHIPS and Science Act will boost American semiconductor research, development, and production, ensuring U.S. leadership in the technology that forms the foundation of everything from automobiles to household appliances to defense systems," said the White House, in a media statement posted last week.

Building semiconductors for the optical networking and telecommunications markets is a very capital-intensive business, Heard said. Since semiconductors are such a big part of the price of the end product and the speed of product innovation, it's critical to keep investing in R&D to drive better network performance.

"Today, almost 50% of the semiconductor revenues are from the US, and only 13% of the production comes from the US," Heard said.

He added that the government's investment could, if spent wisely, help companies continue a Moore's Law-like trajectory and "double the speed of innovation that we're able to bring to market."

You can download an unedited transcript of the podcast here.

Here are just a few things covered in this podcast episode:

  • What the CHIPS and Sciences Act does for companies like Infinera (01:38)

  • How it benefits the optical networking industry overall (06:33)

  • Infinera's reorganization and market acceptance (09:47)

  • The road to 800Gbit/s and the upcoming growth cycle. (13:39)

Figure 1: 4877.pngInfinera headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, photographed in 2020.
(Source: Sundry Photography/Alamy Stock Photo)

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Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Phil Harvey

Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading, Light Reading

Phil Harvey has been a Light Reading writer and editor for more than 18 years combined. He began his second tour as the site's chief editor in April 2020.

His interest in speed and scale means he often covers optical networking and the foundational technologies powering the modern Internet.

Harvey covered networking, Internet infrastructure and dot-com mania in the late 90s for Silicon Valley magazines like UPSIDE and Red Herring before joining Light Reading (for the first time) in late 2000.

After moving to the Republic of Texas, Harvey spent eight years as a contributing tech writer for D CEO magazine, producing columns about tech advances in everything from supercomputing to cellphone recycling.

Harvey is an avid photographer and camera collector – if compulsive shopping and "collecting" are the same. His work can be seen on Flickr, Instagram (sometimes) or by opening one of the dusty shoe boxes in his attic.

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